By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
ELWOOD, Ind. —
Mayor Ron Arnold asked residents Saturday for their prayers as his family coped with accusations that his son was involved with an arson fire that raced through the former State Plating building Friday night.
Four teenagers, including Arnold’s son, were arrested in connection with the fire from earlier Friday night, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.
The suspects are four juveniles, ages 17, 14 and two 13-year-olds. They were questioned, charged with arson and taken to the Madison County Juvenile Center, according to the release from Elwood City Hall.
The juveniles entered the facility, 11700 N. Indiana 37, through an open gate and door to the vacant building, according to statements taken by Elwood Police Chief Sam Hanna and Assistant Police Chief Scott Bertram.
Police were informed that youths were seen entering and leaving the building for the past week, and that the four in custody were seen leaving the facility shortly before the blaze broke out, according to the release.
The suspects are to remain in the juvenile center through the weekend and could have a court appearance as early as Monday.
Hanna has contacted local, state, and federal arson investigators to assist in substantiating the cause of the fire, and the investigation will begin as early as next week.
“I want to commend Chief Hanna and his department for their swift action in this matter,” Arnold said in a statement. “As difficult as this situation is as mayor, it is made more difficult by the fact that my son is one of the juveniles involved. This revelation has been devastating to me and my family. We covet your prayers as we walk through this difficult time for our city and my family.”
Police received reports that the fire started at about 6:15 p.m. Friday and announced it was under control at 8:50 p.m.
A hazardous materials team from the Madison County Emergency Management Agency was sent to the scene and declared the area clear of hazards after taking air samples.
State Plating opened in 1962 and was shuttered in 2008. When it was in operation, the company plated metal products with nickel, nickel chrome and dual nickel chrome finishes.
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